Volunteer staff praised for their response to 24-hour nurses strike

By Jessica Tyson

Staff at hospitals around the country are being praised for their response to the 24-hour nurses strike which ended at 7am this morning.

Hospitals reported more staff and volunteers than planned, and the arrangements prior to the strike for Life Preserving Services Agreements proved a success.

This meant that some surgeries and outpatient appointments were postponed and District Health Board spokesperson Helen Mason says it enabled DHBs to provide emergency and essential services.

"With discharges, transfers and admissions, there has been very little change in hospital occupancy,” she says.

"Emergency Departments also continue with a lower than usual demand.”

Bay of Plenty DHB Chief Executive Helen Mason thanked staff for handling a difficult situation “incredibly well”.

"Walking around the wards last night and this morning I was blown away by how everybody; volunteers, doctors, nurses, Allied Health, Te Pou Kokiri, all pulled together and worked to ensure the safety of our patients and of each other," says Mason.

"A lot of people have worked very hard to provide care through the day and night.  The fact hospitals have been able to provide the services they have is testament to that effort, which includes the contingency planning and preparation of the last three months."

Around 30,000 nurses walked off the job yesterday, while 10,000 continued work.